By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, Dec 1: In what may be termed as alarming news for Meghalaya, the adult population in the state has a higher prevalence of HIV than the national average.
Meghalaya Aids Control Society (MACS) project director B Decruse told reporters during remarks on the sidelines of Friday’s World Aids Day celebration at Polo Grounds that the prevalence of HIV among the state’s adult is 0.39%, compared to the national average of 0.21%.
“This demonstrates that we are above the national average,” she stated.
She stated that 60% of the state’s HIV cases have been reported from the twin districts of Jaintia Hills and that the number of HIV cases is still relatively high in East Khasi Hills.
Dr Decruse stated that there are extremely few HIV cases in the five districts that make up the Garo Hills region.
According to official data from the MACS, as of October 2023, as many as 8,384 people living with HIV (PLHIV) were registered in HIV care. East Khasi Hills (2,611), West Jaintia Hills (2,441), East Jaintia Hills (1,976), Eastern West Khasi Hills (210), Ri Bhoi (531), South West Khasi Hills (115), West Khasi Hills (112), West Garo Hills (111), East Garo Hills (23), North Garo Hills (17), South West Garo Hills (19), South Garo Hills (18), and others (210) are among the districts that make up the HIV breakdown.
Social Welfare Minister Paul Lyngdoh made an appeal to all parties involved to take the lead in the fight to rid Meghalaya of drugs and HIV/AIDS. He emphasised the importance of raising a generation that will make significant contributions to the development of the country.
He also applauded the MACS’s efforts, which are increasing HIV/AIDS awareness in the state through a number of initiatives under the capable direction of the Health Department.
It should be noted that the Red Ribbon Superstar Meghalaya Icon was organised after the celebration. This year’s theme is “Let communities lead”, with the understanding that when communities are given a prominent leadership role, the deadly disease (AIDS) can be eradicated.
The Health Department’s podcast service was also launched on the occasion by the Social Welfare Minister.
Evanylla Marbaniang, the Media & Communications Manager for the Meghalaya Health Systems Strengthening Project, gave a brief introduction to the podcast, highlighting its goal of giving teenagers a forum to talk about their experiences, gain knowledge from one another, find out what resources are available, and consult with professionals.
“We are constantly working to use social behavioural change communications to address important health issues. Teenage pregnancy has been recognised as a serious issue. One of the initiatives under the campaign to prevent teenage pregnancy and give adolescents accurate information to empower them in making informed decisions is the ‘Adolescents Unfiltered – True Talks, Unfiltered Stories’ podcast,” she clarified.
The podcast will be available on well-known websites and apps, including YouTube, Instagram, JioSaavn, Spotify, and Google. The intention is to dispel the stigma associated with important subjects like relationships, peer pressure, puberty, and mental health by having open dialogues about them.
Teens are urged to follow “Adolescents Unfiltered” on all social media channels and to share their tales, experiences, and recommendations in order to help the department enhance the services it offers.
Evanjeline Thubru and Emily Grazel Jyrwa will host the podcast.